It looks like Rafael Furcal is headed to the Dodgers, so once again one of the Mets primary competitors has a hole to fill. You've got the Phillies losing Jim Thome and Billy Wagner (to us), Furcal leaving the Braves, Esteban Loiaza leaving the Nationals and everyone leaving the Marlins (once again to us). In the meantime, we signed the best reliever available and we shored up one of our biggest weaknesses last year (first base) with a bona fide slugger. While all this is going on, the Mets continue to pop up in trade talks for Manny Ramirez.
The Mets traded Gabby Hernandez for Paul Lo Duca so we no longer need to pick up a catcher. I'm sort of luke warm to this deal because Lo Duca's been pretty much riding one great season. In 2001, he hit .320 and hit 25 homeruns. Since then, he's never hit more then 10 homeruns and he's usually hovered more in the .280 range. He's a pretty average fielding catcher.
Gabby Hernandez split time between A and high A in 2005. He was very effective at Hagerstown. In 18 starts and 92 2/3 innings, he had 99 strikeouts, a 6-1 record and a 2.43 ERA. When he was promoted, he was less then stellar. His ERA balooned to 5.74 and he was 2-5. In 42 1/3 innings, he had 32 strikeouts.
But, the trade fills a hole and it's one less thing to worry about. Now we can concentrate on luring Manny to town, and maybe lock up a starting pitcher (or two) to shore up the rotation. The winter meetings are this week, so it'll be interesting to see what happens with Ramirez.